TMT supporters, opponents clash over debris at Mauna Kea camp

TMT supporters, opponents debate clash over debris at Mauna Kea encampment

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Supporters and opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope are clashing over debris at the encampment at Mauna Kea.

A couple of TMT supporters have been taking videos and photos of what they call trash and debris left by the protesters. But TMT opponents say it’s an effort to discredit and undermine the kiai.

TMT supporters Lisa Malakaua and Mike Nathaniel, of Mountain View, say they took video and photos of the anti-TMT encampment at Mauna Kea last week.

They call the broken tents and piles of camping gear “trash” left behind by the opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

"They are being a disgrace up there to Hawaii," said Malakaua.

“There was just so much damage being done, irreversible damage and who’s going to be paying for it again, the taxpayers.”

The images were posted on Facebook by Thayne Currie, a Mauna Kea astronomer, who asked TMT supporters to contact lawmakers about the trash, environment, safety and upholding the law.

"There is civil disobedience because civil there's nothing civil that's going on up there and they're certainly being disobedient," said Malakaua.

“Shame. That’s not the way I was brought up,” said Nathaniel.

But TMT opponents say the social media posts and calls to lawmakers are effort to discredit and undermine the kiai, those who consider themselves protectors of Mauna Kea.

"That's just their tactic and we think it's pretty low, but they've been doing this since we took our stand," said Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, a spokesperson for the kiai.

She says early last week high winds during a storm damaged some of the larger tents and they’ve been cleaning up with a large roll off dumpster.

"We alone are responsible for taking care for what happens at the camp and I think our people and our volunteers have done an excellent job to make sure everything is as clean and tidy as we can possibly be," said Wong-Wilson.

She says more high winds are expected so larger tents and flags are not being put back up and if people haven't retrieved their personal tents, they've been taken down.

“This is an organized concerted effort by pro TMT astronomers who work on the mountain, that’s more about undermining us than anything else,” said TMT opponent Andre Perez.

Currie deferred questions to Malakaua and Nathaniel who say they are not affiliated with TMT or the astronomers.

At last word, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim was going to see if the moratorium on TMT construction could be extended past the end of February. Wong-Wilson says they have not heard anything new.

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